Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

US to announce $110 billion Saudi arms sale as Trump visits

US to announce $110 billion Saudi arms sale as Trump visits

Despite the fact 15 of al-Qaeda's 9/11 attackers came from Saudi Arabia, the country was conspicuously absent from a list of Muslim-majority countries whose citizens were briefly barred from the United States under a failed ban supposedly sparked by terror risks. Trump is scheduled to give a speech supporting moderate Islam.

As part of that effort he has been seeking United States investment, including in the entertainment sector, for a country where more than half the local population is under 25 and hooked on the internet, but where public cinemas and theatres are still banned.

Prior to working with Trump, Miller worked as a top aide and speechwriter to Alabama Sen.

Mr Trump has himself insinuated the Saudi government was behind the world's deadliest terror attack, telling Fox News in February 2016: "Who blew up the World Trade Center?"

Saudi Arabia will be seeking assurances that the Trump administration will continue its harsher tone towards Iran and keep up pressure, through both rhetoric and action, to stop what Riyadh sees as Tehran's destabilizing activities in the region.

Trump - who will also visit Israel, Belgium and Italy during the trip - will join a short list of presidents who chose not to visit a USA neighbor before traveling further afield.

Elliott Abrams, the supervisor of former President George W. Bush's Middle East policy, says that in his speech, Trump will have to navigate between "very risky portals", adding: "If he says nothing about Islamic extremism, then supporters at home will say he bit his tongue; if he says too much about it, he would conceivably offend some of those who are there".

H.R. McMaster, Trump's national security adviser, said Trump's speech will be "inspiring but direct" and urge the leaders to "confront radical ideology".

President Trump heads to the Middle East and Europe with impossibly high expectations set from inside his own White House. "The speech is meant to unite the broader Muslim world against common enemies of all civilization and to demonstrate America's commitment to our Muslim partners".

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